Common Wood is so called because, for at least a thousand years prior to the Penn Inclosure Award of 1855, it formed part of the southern area of four thousand acres of common heath and ancient woodland known as Wycombe or Holmer Heath.
During the Saxon and early Norman centuries, when the heath was used as a hunting chase for the citizens of London, Common Wood appears to have been part of a deer ‘pen’ or enclosure, from which the parish of Penn was to take its name.
Freeholders of Penn and surrounding parishes enjoyed rights of common and used the heath and wood to pasture pigs, graze cattle and to provide fuel and timber. It also became a source of other raw materials (including clay, sand and flints) with the start of the High Wycombe chair industry in the 1790s and the settlement and growth of Tylers Green.
All rights of common in Penn were finally extinguished in 1855 when Common Wood, along with its immediate neighbour Penn Wood, became the property of the first Earl Howe and converted to enclosed high forest. It was probably at this time that several of the rides through the area were laid out and lined with specimen conifers.
During the latter decades of the 20th century Common Wood came under private ownership and managed to provide a commercial return.
Extensive felling took place in the 1980s and 90s and during this period several young plantations were established in the gaps, some containing conifers and other species not native to the woodland. This produced a relatively ‘tidy’ mixed wood at the time it was acquired by PTGRS in 2003, with many relatively young trees and with comparatively little dead wood habitat.
St Margaret’s Church, Tylers Green, was built with flints taken from Common Wood, possibly from Zachariah’s Pit.